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History > Military History > Vietnam War

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Shadow and Stinger Cover

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Shadow and Stinger

Developing the AC-119G/K Gunships in the Vietnam War

By William Head

Nicknamed “the truck killer,” the AC-119K gunship and its counterpart, the AC-119G, were developed in the late 1960s in response to the needs of the U.S. military in Vietnam. This important book examines the evolution of these aircraft and their role within Vietnam, military policy, and geopolitical realities. Drawing on unpublished studies and a host of primary materials, William Head discusses the events that led to the birth of the AC-119, the planning and modification processes that followed, and its operational history. The G model, or “Shadow,” focused on air support and anti-personnel missions. “Stinger,” the K model, which could carry more cargo for longer distances, was suited for destruction of enemy vehicles. Though the AC-119 was only an interim asset, its descendants—the AC-130E, H, and U—have played an active role in the recent conflict in Iraq. A narrative of the crews and pilots who executed the missions and the engineers, designers, and the politicians responsible for the aircraft, Shadow and Stinger will be of interest to Vietnam veterans, historians, and scholars, as well as aviation enthusiasts.

Sisterhood of War Cover

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Sisterhood of War

Minnesota Women in Vietnam

by Kim Heikkila

In January 1966, navy nurse Lieutenant Kay Bauer stepped off a pan am airliner into the stifling heat of Saigon and was issued a camouflage uniform, boots, and a rifle. “What am I supposed to do with this?” she said of the weapon. “I’m a nurse.” Bauer was one of approximately six thousand military nurses who served in Vietnam. Historian Kim Heikkila here delves into the experiences of fifteen nurse veterans from Minnesota, exploring what drove them to enlist, what happened to them in-country, and how the war changed their lives. Like Bauer, these women saw themselves as nurses first and foremost: their job was to heal rather than to kill. after the war, however, the very professional selflessness that had made them such committed military nurses also made it more difficult for them to address their own needs as veterans. Reaching out to each other, they began healing from the wounds of war, and they turned their energies to a new purpose: this group of Minnesotans launched the campaign to build the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. In the process, a collection of individuals became a tight-knit group of veterans who share the bonds of a sisterhood forged in war.

Son Tay Raid Cover

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Son Tay Raid

American POWs in Vietnam Were Not Forgotten, Revised Edition

John Gargus

In May 1970, aerial photographs revealed what U.S. military intelligence believed was a POW camp near the town of Son Tay, twenty-three miles west of North Vietnam’s capital city. When American officials decided the prisoners were attempting to send signals, they set in motion a daring plan to rescue the more than sixty airmen thought to be held captive. On November 20, a joint group of volunteers from U.S. Army Green Berets and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Forces perfectly executed the raid, only to find the prisoners' quarters empty; the POWs had been moved to a different location. Initially, the Son Tay raid was a devastating disappointment to the men who risked their lives to carry it out. Many vocal critics labeled it as a spectacular failure of our nation’s intelligence network. However, subsequent events proved that the audacity of the rescue attempt stunned the North Vietnamese, who implemented immediate changes in the treatment of their captives. The operation also restored the prisoners’ faith that their nation had not forgotten them. John Gargus not only participated in the planning phase of the Son Tay rescue, but also flew as a lead navigator for the strike force. This revised edition incorporates the most recent information from raid participants and also includes recent translations of North Vietnamese perspectives. No previous account of this top-secret action has given such a full account or such insight into both the execution and the aftermath of Son Tay.  

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Team 19 in Vietnam

An Australian Soldier at War

David Millie. foreword by General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)

Historical accounts and memoirs of the Vietnam War often ignore the participation of nations other than Vietnam and the United States. As a result, few Americans realize that several members of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO), including Australia, allied with South Vietnam during the conflict. By the late 1960s, more than eight thousand Australians were deployed in the region or providing support to the forces there.

In Team 19 in Vietnam, David Millie offers an insightful account of his twelve-month tour with the renowned Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in Quang Tri Province -- a crucial tactical site along the demilitarized zone that was North Vietnam's gateway to the south. Drawing from published and unpublished military documents, his personal diary, and the letters he wrote while deployed, Millie introduces readers to the daily routines, actions, and disappointments of a field staff officer. He discusses his interactions with province senior advisor Colonel Harley F. Mooney and Major John Shalikashvili, who would later become chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. This firsthand narrative vividly demonstrates the importance of the region and the substantial number of forces engaged there.

Few Australian accounts of the Vietnam War exist, and Millie offers a rare glimpse into the year after the Tet offensive, when Presidents Johnson and Nixon both made it clear that the U.S. would withdraw its troops. This important memoir reveals that responsibility for the catastrophe inflicted on Vietnamese civilians is shared by an international community that failed to act effectively in the face of a crisis., reviewing a previous edition or volume

The Third Sex Cover

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The Third Sex

Lawrence R. Schehr

Thirty-two years before Simone de Beauvoirs classic The Second Sex, popular French novelist Willy published The Third Sex, a vivid description of the world of European homosexuals in France, Italy, and Germany during the late 1920s. Stepping directly into the heart of gay mens culture, Willy follows homosexual nightlife into music halls, nightclubs, casinos, bars, and saunas. While he finds plenty of drug and alcohol abuse, he also discovers homosexual publishers, scientific societies, group rivalries, and opinions--both medical and political--about the nature of homosexuality itself. Lawrence R. Schehrs introduction provides context and translators notes for this first-ever English edition.

Troubled Hero Cover

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Troubled Hero

A Medal of Honor, Vietnam, and the War at Home

Randy K. Mills

Born in rural Illinois, Ken Kays was a country boy who flunked out of college and wound up serving as a medic in the Vietnam War. On May 7, 1970, after only 17 days in Vietnam and one day after joining a new platoon, the young medic found himself in a ferocious battle. As a conscientious objector, Kays did not carry any weapons, but his actions during that engagement would earn him the Congressional Medal of Honor. Yet Kays' valor came during just another unheralded fire fight near the end of a long and seemingly fruitless war. He returned home and, with other vets, struggled to reconcile his anti-war beliefs with what he and others had done in Vietnam. This dramatic and tragic story is a timely reminder of the price of war and the fragile comforts of peace.

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True Faith and Allegiance

An American Paratrooper and the 1972 Battle for An Loc

Mike McDermott

True Faith and Allegiance: An American Paratrooper and the 1972 Battle for An Loc is an intimate and compelling account of the most brutal infantry warfare and is also a critique of the mishandling of America’s departure from Indochina. An unintended consequence of Washington’s stampede to get out of Indochina was an upsurge in combat on a scale not seen before in Vietnam, peaking with the Easter Offensive of 1972.

The battle for An Loc, a key component in the North Vietnamese attempt to overwhelm the South, swept Mike McDermott, then the senior advisor to an elite South Vietnamese paratrooper battalion, into some of the most horrific close-quarters fighting of the war. His in-the-trenches account is augmented by detailed descriptions of a user’s perspective on the parachute resupply, tactical airpower, and B-52 strikes that allowed the An Loc garrison to survive.

True Faith and Allegiance is a riveting recounting of the prism through which a Vietnam veteran views the war as he continues to live with the aftereffects of life-altering experiences in the service of his country.

The Turning Cover

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The Turning

A History of Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Andrew Hunt

The anti-Vietnam War movement in the United States is perhaps best remembered for its young, counterculture student protesters. However, the Vietnam War was the first conflict in American history in which a substantial number of military personnel actively protested the war while it was in progress.

In The Turning, Andrew Hunt reclaims the history of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), an organization that transformed the antiwar movement by placing Vietnam veterans in the forefront of the nationwide struggle to end the war. Misunderstood by both authorities and radicals alike, VVAW members were mostly young men who had served in Vietnam and returned profoundly disillusioned with the rationale for the war and with American conduct in Southeast Asia. Angry, impassioned, and uncompromisingly militant, the VVAW that Hunt chronicles in this first history of the organization posed a formidable threat to America's Vietnam policy and further contributed to the sense that the nation was under siege from within.

Based on extensive interviews and in-depth primary research, including recently declassified government files, The Turning is a vivid history of the men who risked censures, stigma, even imprisonment for a cause they believed to be "an extended tour of duty."

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The Twenty-five Year Century

A South Vietnamese General Remembers the Indochina War to the Fall of Saigon

Lam Quang Thi

For Victor Hugo, the nineteenth century could be remembered by only its first two years, which established peace in Europe and France's supremacy on the continent. For General Lam Quang Thi, the twentieth century had only twenty-five years: from 1950 to 1975, during which the Republic of Vietnam and its Army grew up and collapsed with the fall of Saigon. This is the story of those twenty-five years. General Thi fought in the Indochina War as a battery commander on the side of the French. When Viet Minh aggression began after the Geneva Accords, he served in the nascent Vietnamese National Army, and his career covers this army's entire lifespan. He was deputy commander of the 7th Infantry Division, and in 1965 he assumed command of the 9th Infantry Division. In 1966, at the age of thirty-three, he became one of the youngest generals in the Vietnamese Army. He participated in the Tet Offensive before being removed from the front lines for political reasons. When North Vietnam launched the 1972 Great Offensive, he was brought back to the field and eventually promoted to commander of an Army Corps Task Force along the Demilitarized Zone. With the fall of Saigon, he left Vietnam and emigrated to the United States. Like his tactics during battle, General Thi pulls no punches in his denunciation of the various regimes of the Republic, and complacency and arrogance toward Vietnam in the policies of both France and the United States. Without lapsing into bitterness, this is finally a tribute to the soldiers who fell on behalf of a good cause.

Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War Cover

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Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War

Edited by John Day Tully, Matthew Masur, and Brad Austin

Just as the Vietnam War presented the United States with a series of challenges, it presents a unique challenge to teachers at all levels. The war had a deep and lasting impact on American culture, politics, and foreign policy. Still fraught with controversy, this crucial chapter of the American experience is as rich in teachable moments as it is riddled with potential pitfalls—especially for students a generation or more removed from the events themselves.
            Addressing this challenge, Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War offers a wealth of resources for teachers at the secondary and university levels. An introductory section features essays by eminent Vietnam War scholars George Herring and Marilyn Young, who reflect on teaching developments since their first pioneering classes on the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. A methods section includes essays that address specific methods and materials and discuss the use of music and film, the White House tapes, oral histories, the Internet, and other multimedia to infuse fresh and innovative dimensions to teaching the war. A topical section offers essays that highlight creative and effective ways to teach important topics, drawing on recently available primary sources and exploring the war's most critical aspects—the Cold War, decolonization, Vietnamese perspectives, the French in Vietnam, the role of the Hmong, and the Tet Offensive. Every essay in the volume offers classroom-tested pedagogical strategies and detailed practical advice.
            Taken as a whole, Understanding and Teaching the Vietnam War will help teachers at all levels navigate through cultural touchstones, myths, political debates, and the myriad trouble spots enmeshed within the national memory of one of the most significant moments in American history.

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